Thursday, May 9, 2013

MIZZOU MATCHUP: Alabama Crimson Tide

Head Coach: Mitch Gaspard (127-108 in 4th season as Alabama Head Coach)

Sewell-Thomas Stadium – Tuscaloosa, AL
Friday @ 6:30 PM CT
Saturday @ 1 PM CT – FSN
Sunday @ 12:30 PM CT

Missouri (15-28, 7-17 SEC) @ Alabama (29-21, 11-12 SEC)

Mizzou is on the road again this weekend in Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide. Alabama dropped all three games last weekend at Mississippi State, but took both non-conference games during the week, beating Mississippi Valley State and Troy. Alabama is a strong home team, as they are 20-8 in Tuscaloosa and 29-21 overall.

Position Players
Alabama’s 2-6 hitters all get on base at a very similar rate and while it is not at an incredible pace, they do get on consistently. Once they get on, they like to run. They have swiped 49 bases as a team this year, almost one a game, and have only surrendered 38 stolen bases from opponents. Right fielder Ben Moore leads the team in a few different categories, and his knack for getting on base, showing spurts of power, and his speed is important in the middle of the lineup. His 18 extra base hits leads the team, and so does his 16 stolen bases. Coming after him in the lineup is team homerun leader Austen Smith. His power has its downside as he tops the team with 43 strikeouts. That compared to his 15 walks is not a good combination, and Tiger pitchers need to exploit this weakness to limit the amount of runs he drives in over the weekend. The rest of the lineup steadily declines in their averages and on base percentages. There is a noticeable lack of production in the bottom of the order, as they rack up a lot of strikeouts and don’t swipe very many bases. Missouri pitching needs to take advantage of this and not let them on base for the guys that can actually do major damage. If these guys get on, then the top of the order that has the capability of knocking in some runs will punish the Tigers.

Projected Lineup
3B Kenny Roberts (R) .249
CF Georgie Salem (L) .282
2B Kyle Overstreet (R) .270
RF Ben Moore (R) .288
1B Austen Smith (R) .273
C Brett Booth (R) .271
SS Mikey White (R) .250
LF Andrew Miller (L) .235
DH Steven Cole (R) .190

Charley Sullivan and Spencer Turnbull are the pitchers that have seen consistent starts every weekend for the club. In his last outing, Sullivan went 6.1 IP giving up 8 hits and 3 ER in his no decision at Mississippi State. For the season, he has put up an impressible 3.36 ERA, striking out 64 over 72.1 innings. His location is what he thrives on, only walking 19 batters so far. On Sunday, the Tigers will see righty Spencer Turnbull. He has been just as effective as Sullivan, relying on his defense more than striking out hitters.

Projected Pitching Matchups
RHP Rob Zastryzny (2-9, 3.93 ERA) vs. RHP Charley Sullivan (4-4, 3.36 ERA)
RHP Brett Graves (1-5, 3.94 ERA) vs. LHP Justin Kamplain (1-0, 4.68 ERA)
RHP Eric Anderson (0-2, 4.11 ERA) vs. RHP Spencer Turnbull (4-2, 3.28 ERA)

Matchup Wrap-up
Missouri pitchers will have to attack the bottom of the Crimson Tide order and not let them get on base easily. This will take away the opportunities the middle of the order can potentially have to knock in runs. On the other side of the ball, hitters will need to work counts and get on base any way they can. Alabama has a very solid defense and a lot of speed in the outfield, which can take away potential extra base hits.

Other SEC games this weekend (all 5/10-12):
Tennessee @ (11) Arkansas
Auburn @ Florida
Georgia @ (15) South Carolina
(2) Vanderbilt @ Kentucky
(3) LSU @ Texas A&M
(21) Mississippi State @ Ole Miss

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